Consensual non-monogamous relationships, more commonly known as polyamorous relationships may not have received universal acceptance yet. But, now a city in the United States has just gone ahead and legalised polyamorous relationships in its domestic partnership policy.

The city council of Somerville in Massachusetts  on June 29, unanimously adopted an ordinance that recognised polyamorous couples. The Somerville Journal reported the council has now defined domestic partnership as an “entity formed by people,” (instead of ‘ entity formed by two people’) and introduced inclusive language in the law, including replacing “he and she”with “they” and “both” with “all”.

The council enacted the new rules in response to a need for extending benefits to domestic partners during the Coronavirus pandemic. According to the report, people approached the councillors after being unable to visit their partners who were hospitalised as they were not married. The council while drafting the legislation decided that being inclusive in its language was the way to go, becoming the first city in the US to accord recognition to all relationships.

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 A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy revealed that around 21% of participants had said that they had engaged in consensual non-monogamy.

An earlier study in the US had estimated that around 4-5% of people in the US were in consensually non-monogamous relationships.

In Australia no such statistics are available and polygamy is treated as a criminal offence. Under section 94 of the Marriage Act, bigamy is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. However, multiple simultaneous de-facto relationships are not banned.

Within the LGBTQI community, a polyamorous relationship seems to have larger acceptance. In 2012 the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras featured a Queer Polyamory float and again in 2014 Polyamory Sydney had a float.

Recently, one of the most famous throuples to dominate the news have been Netflix breakout star Joe Exotic and his two partners John Finlay and Travis Maldonado in the documentary Tiger King. Another high profile throuple – Ru Paul’s Drag Race queen Derrick Barry has been in a relationship with Nebraska Thunderfuck and Nick San Pedro for over eight years.

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